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16 Nurses Tell Their Story of Patient Abuse


Nurses Share More Stories of Abuse to Show How Widespread the Problem Has Become 

Physical and verbal abuse against nurses remains a serious problem in the healthcare industry. Providers constantly live with the threat of violence when caring for their patients. We asked millions of nurses to share their stories of abuse. We received so many comments and responses that we decided to turn the piece into a series and will be advocating for a National Nurse Abuse Month. Here are just some of the many providers looking to tell their story:

I worked in neuro and got punched in the face (twice) by a patient who was being discharged early. This was my fourth day of orientation as a new RN. We were trying to transfer her from the chair to the bed so she could leave. I was also kicked in the chest by a young man with a TBI when I went into his room to administer insulin.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been grabbed, scratched and spit at. Luckily, we were always encouraged to press charges.


In my short 2.5 years as a nurse, I’ve been uppercutted by a violent patient in for CTE treatments and psych issues. That left me with a concussion, sprained jaw, cervical sprains all down my neck, and two months of physical therapy with no work.

I’ve also been kneed in the abdomen by a patient unresponsive from unknown drugs, while trying to assault 6 more of us. That time I had serious injury to my abdominal wall and stomach, and two months I couldn’t work. Not including the objects thrown at me and dodged, and the unrelenting verbal abuse.

I love nursing and I love what I do even with what we have to go through.


My first nursing job I was thrown on two units for the overnight shift, but many of the patients were overflow from the state hospital that weren’t considered violent. I was doing med pass at 4 a.m. when a naked, blind woman grabbed me from behind by the throat. I had several deep lacerations to my throat. Administration did nothing.

I didn’t get injured but the following week a male patient with herpes and AIDS locked me in his room after I had to put cream on his penis for his herpes…. He told me he would rape me, and no one would stop him. I slipped my resignation under my boss’s door at the end of that shift.


A resident asked me for a hug and when I leaned down to hug her, she wrapped around my neck and started stabbing me in the back with a pen.


A lady at my facility was hit so hard in the back of the head, she broke her neck. A little harder and they said it would have detached.


I’m a pysch nurse and I get abused in some way every day. Work place violence is no joke, especially for nurses and other caregivers.


I was starting an IV on an older lady. Her purse was on the bed. I didn’t think anything of it. She had been confused and paranoid all along. I heard, “Now Take that!” I looked up and she stabbed me in the eye with a metal nail file. Only a corneal abrasion – I was lucky? (Sic)


A coworker of mine had a patient hold a butter knife to her neck hard enough that you could see the serrated indents from it. She stayed calm and all was well but still scary.


I’ve been kicked in the chest and fell backwards against a window. My back still occasionally hurts from that. I just recently got kicked in the stomach (I’m pregnant).


I have been hit, kicked, punched, had my wrist fractured on two separate occasions, called every name in the book, asked a completely competent patient to stop being combative during my pregnancy with my son and she told me she wished my baby f-ing dies…. nurse life at its finest. (Sic)


Whipped by a call bell repeatedly when I was 6 months pregnant. I probably had 50 welts on my back. I broke the golden rule: “never let a patient get between you and the door”.


I was kneed in the liver by an alert, pissed off intubated patient, and ended up on the floor with a compression injury to my back. Was trying to prevent him from self-extubating.


Chased with a crowbar just the other day.


I still suffer from a back injury sustained in 1995 when a CVS patient tried to pull me over the cot side whilst I was trying to make him comfortable after a turn. I was off work for 14 months and am still in pain. I had to eventually give up bedside nursing as I was in too much pain. Sat at a desk which is not ideal either. Was unable to sue as the patient died.


Recently, I’ve felt like I get verbally abused by patients at least once a week… people are rude.


When I was pregnant and working nights, I was changing one lady and she punched my belly.I asked her nicely not to and told her that I was pregnant. She said, “That’s not my problem,” and proceeded to hit me again even harder, in the abdomen.


I broke my wrist and got stitches in my lip… I was just the closest thing to him that he could hit. I was trying to get him water.
I was told how great I was for being assaulted and forced to return to work, with the same patient that hit me.?


These responses have been edited for length and clarity.


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